TWO brothers who made an estimated £1,500 a day by running a £300,000 “drug hotline” into Hereford have been jailed for 16 years.

West Midlands Police say the operation by Sharaz and Ikhlas Hussain of Bevington Road in Aston, Birmingham, is the most significant ever identified in Hereford.

It’s thought the pair brought over 3.5kg of heroin and crack cocaine to the city before being exposed by a covert operation run by the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit and West Mercia Police.

Ikhlas Hussain oversaw the flow of drugs to Hereford where Serges Zubkovs, from St James in the city, managed the street-level supply. Gareth Davies, 38, from Campbell Close in Hereford, was also identified as a drug runner for the brothers’ County Line.

Police arrested Sharaz, 30, on 5 June last year at an address in Milsom Grove, Shard End, Birmingham where he was found lying next to almost half a kilo of heroin.

His brother and Davies were arrested from their home addresses on the same day, and Zubkovs, 30, was arrested from HMP Hewell in Worcestershire where he was serving time for unrelated offences.

All four members of the gang went on to admit conspiring to supply Class A drugs and at Hereford Crown Court yesterday. Sharaz and Ikhlas Hussain were jailed for eight years four months and seven years eight months respectively.

Zubkovs was given a four-year eight-month prison sentence, while Davies was handed a three-year four-month term behind bars.

To date, 26 offenders have been jailed for a combined total of almost 130 years.

West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Julie Woods, said: “The scale and organisation of the Hussains’ operation was the most significant ever identified within Hereford, it’s estimated they were making around £1,500 a day.

“Sharaz took orders on the drugs hotlines from what he believed was a safe distance in Birmingham, making most of the money while foot soldiers took on the biggest risk fulfilling drugs orders on the streets on his behalf.

“However, unbeknown to him we had both brothers under surveillance and gathered compelling evidence against the pair, enough for them both to plead guilty at court.

“Their drug dealing would have caused untold misery on the streets of Hereford and fuelled crime in the city, while they revelled in their drugs money. They’ve rightly been handed lengthy jail terms – and anyone else involved in County Lines dealing can expect a similar fate.”

The money made by the Hussains’ County Lines operation will be pursued by police through a Proceeds of Crime Act application through the courts.

Any cash or assets suspected of coming from drug dealing can be seized with the money being ploughed back into crime prevention and community projects.

Anyone who suspects drug dealing in their community – or believes someone is being exploited to deal drugs – can pass information to West Mercia Police by calling 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.